Sunday, January 17, 2010

U.S. Aid to Haiti...What Can We Do?

The earthquake disaster in Haiti is a heartbreaker. Our hearts are full of empathy. We all want to do something to help. I did some research and decided if I was to donate I would want to be well-informed.

The U.S. does give a tremendous amount of help to many many countries every day...we always step up when a disaster occurs. I found an article regarding the fact that the U.S. has been the world's largest foreign-aid donor to Haiti since 1973. This information bears repeating..

Unsurprisingly, Rush Is Right by Jim Geraghty

You knew it was just a matter of time before partisan angles emerged about the disaster in Haiti. The Huffington Post takes umbrage at Rush Limbaugh: "Limbaugh also seems to feel we've done enough already for Haiti: 'We've already donated to Haiti. It's called the U.S. income tax.'"

Obviously, when people are struggling to crawl out from rubble and with meager medical systems stretched to the breaking point, you've got to mobilize. But on the facts, Rush is right.

The tale of U.S. foreign aid to Haiti is maddening, as well-meaning Americans dump more and more money to alleviate suffering, only to see little or no actual improvement in the living conditions on the ground.

Since 1973, the United States has been the world’s largest foreign-aid donor to Haiti, which ranks among the world’s poorest countries.

From 1990 to 2005, the U.S. sent $1.46 billion to Haiti in aid from development assistance and children's health through the Economic Support Fund, the U.S. food program, the Peace Corps, and foreign military training (although that was only $4.6 million, with $3 million coming in 1995). More recently,

In May 2008, the Bush administration announced that it would send an additional $25 million in emergency food aid to Haiti, bringing its total emergency contribution to $45 million . . . Congress provided $100 million for hurricane relief and reconstruction assistance for Haiti and other Caribbean countries in the FY 2009 continuing appropriations resolution, signed September 2008. Haiti received an estimated $287 million in regular appropriations for FY 2009.

So why isn't all of this aid having an impact? Here's how Reuters gently put it:

A combination of factors has made it difficult to distribute aid effectively to Haiti, including poor governance, political turmoil and widespread corruption. Haiti's political system is unstable and plagued with infighting. Since 2004, a 9,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force has been on the ground. Haiti is the third most corrupt country in the world, according to corruption watchdog Transparency International, compounding the difficulties agencies face in delivering aid in an accountable and transparent way. Power lies in the hands of a few elite, leaving ministries unable to implement policies and divert funds to the local level. Haiti's civil service is poorly trained and lacks the expertise to manage aid.

Should people give to charities to help the Haitians? Of course. But if the past is any precedent, a lot of today's donations will end up in the wrong pockets in the not-too-distant future.

The other troubling aspect for Haiti is the fact that the largest prison's walls crumbled so you have that element running rampant through the country. So very sad...the whole thing makes my heart hurt.

I learned alot from that article and decided in order to avoid any fraudulent organization that I would check out theCharity Navigator website. Why throw good money after bad...I don't have extra to throw away to a fraudster.
             victorian flowers

Now a short plug...visit Online Auction. A real Mecca for shoppers...both buyers and sellers.

My 'treasures' can be found at Supergrannys Treasures.

Mark your calendars for 6 week stimulus banner


Fleapirates said...

Another awesome post, SG!

I had no idea that Haiti had already received that much funding, or that the aid that was already given may have been misappropriated. Makes you stop and think about your donation!

Thank you for the link to the Charity Navigator!

CurioCache said...

Sad in so many ways. Wish I could just go there and pick up a shovel and a hammer..sounds like that's the only way these folks will actually get any relief.

Supergranny said...

Thanks Flea....Curio, if it were just that easy...we'd all fix them up!

Anonymous said...

You're on the mark about advising cuation sending donations.

Just this morning, I have been working on that very project.

I went to a small all-girls high school, and it's been over 50 years since I graduated. However we all remain close.

One of our grads goes to Haiti once or twice a year to volunteer at a facility operated by the Missionaries of Charity -- nuns in the Mother Teresa order.

She's been doing this for 10 years. She volunteers a month at a time at a facility -- not an orphanage, not a hospital -- a place that everybody calls Home. The babies are too sick for their parents to care for them, so they are here until they are well enough to go home. Even then, they return every week to receive medications, food and a medical exam.

She feeds babies, changes babies, loves and cuddles them. She is schedules to return on March 5 -- if she "won't be a burden."

We are organizing an alumnae donation drive for the sister's Mission, and she will hand delivery the money because, she said, it's not certain that anything going through the mail will arrive.

The nuns are a very poor order -- Mother Teresa is their founder, and we know they truly take a vow of absolute poverty. Every cent we give them will be utilized to care for the babies. The Order is too poor to have a web-site or internet communications; they certainly don't have a fundraising staff.

How sad is this: she said that being without food as a result of the quate was not unusual -- Haitians do not expect to eat everyday......

It broke my heart to hear her speak about the situation. She's a very show woman who would never in the past talk about her work at the mission, lest someone think she was boasting about her generosity -- but she recognized that TODAY is different -- it is time to be heard.

I am hoping our alumnae will open their hearts and pocketbooks.

If you would like to send money, please consider the following -- find a non-for-profit agency that has an affiliation in Haiti, such as an order of nuns, who can and will hand-deliver the money without siphoning anything off for "administative costs."

If you'd like more information about how to do this, please feel free to ask me -- Supergranny has my e-mail address.

Carolyn Short.

Supergranny said...

Caro, what a wonderful connection and a great comment! Blessings to all and if anyone wants to make sure their donation, however small, gets to the intended...this would be a great way to do it. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Great post and a very good thought from C.Short. Wow, it is amazing who knows who. Thanks for the post SG.

LunaTechChick said...

Just droppin by to say HOWDY! =) Great post!

Supergranny said...

Hey Luna, glad you stopped by!

maggiemaybecrafty said...

Excellent article SuperG & excellent information from Carolyn. What a horrible, horrible situation for those poor people.